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Broader Partnerships Toolkit

August 15, 2011

You can’t do this alone. No person or organization can change the odds for youth by themselves. You need to work in concert with others. That means more than “let’s get together sometimes.” After all, concerts are more than just a bunch of musicians making noise at the same time (certain bands notwithstanding). Working in concert means agreeing on what to play, playing in unison and contributing your own special sound to create something beyond what any of you could do on your own.


To accomplish that, you need someone to align the efforts of existing organizations and to involve the key stakeholders in your community or state.

Is that challenging? You bet.

Through years of working with all sorts of partnerships at the state and local level, the Ready by 21 National Partnership has seen complications stem from politics, programmatic differences, uneven commitments and geographic boundaries, just to name a few. We’ve helped partnerships overcome those impediments through the power of their united efforts. Based on those lessons, the Forum for Youth Investment has developed three standards for building and maintaining broader partnerships:

  • Build an overarching leadership council that establishes accountability for improved outcomes from birth to young adulthood.
  • Align and strengthen coalitions, commissions and intermediaries to ensure full coverage of issues, populations and strategies.
  • Engage key stakeholders in setting priorities and solving problems – from young people to professionals, from front-line providers to policymakers.

To learn more about building broader partnerships, check out these resources below:

"Building Broader Partnerships 101" Webinar Recording: This webinar offers an introduction to the standards within Broader Partnerships and provides examples. Broadcast in October 2011, the webinar was led by Kiley Bednar, program manager, and Patrick Boyle, communications director, at the Forum for Youth Investment.

Thinking Outside the Box: Creating Catalytic Partnerships to Change the Odds for Children and Youth: Karen Pittman, president and CEO of the Forum for Youth Investment, challenged Chattanooga, Tenn., to come together as a community to change the way it serves and supports young people. Learn more about the dynamic potential of catalytic partnerships through this speech and accompanying graphics.

Georgetown Divide, CA: Building a Broad Partnership to Improve Results: See how community leaders on California’s Georgetown Divide brought together a wide range of organizations to improve services and results for youth. The community formed a broad coalition using Ready by 21 strategies, tools and technical assistance.

Ready by 21 and Collective Impact: When community leaders and organizations work together in unison toward common goals, they can achieve collective impact. Karen Pittman writes here about this concept and how it plays out through Ready by 21’s commitment to such things as shared agendas and measurement systems.


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